Men's basketball holds on for win against Conn. College

Bradley Gifford '15
Bradley Gifford '15

Hamilton College’s Bradley Gifford '15 posted his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and the Continentals held on to defeat Connecticut College 60-57 in a NESCAC game at Hamilton’s Margaret Bundy Scott Field House on Feb. 1.

The Continentals (11-10 overall, 2-5 NESCAC) never trailed and have won both games against the Camels since joining the NESCAC last season. Hamilton won 63-61 in New London, Conn., on Feb. 3, 2012.

Eric Benvenuti '13 chipped in 12 points off the bench and Peter Kazickas '15 contributed 10. Matt Hart '16 and Greg Newton '14 added nine points apiece and Newton dished out a team-high four assists.

"This was a great team win as we received contributions from many guys," head coach Adam Stockwell said. "Hopefully we can carry this into Sunday."

Matt Vadas '14 notched his sixth double-double of the season with a game-high 20 points to go with 10 rebounds for Conn. College. Vadas made five shots from beyond the arc and leads the NESCAC with 19.8 points per game and 3.2 three-point field goals made per game. Jared Shill '16 finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and a game-high five assists. Aaron McBurnie '16 recorded three steals off the bench.

Hamilton came out of the gates strong with a 12-0 run, including seven points from Gifford. The Camels came right back with a 13-2 run to get within 14-13 with 7:59 left in the first half. Vadas started the spurt with a jumper to get Conn. College on the board and added a shot from long range on the next possession. Shill tallied seven points during the run, including a 3-pointer that brought the Camels within one.

After Benvenuti converted a 3-point play, neither team scored for more than three minutes until Hart made a layup to give the Continentals a 19-13 lead with 3:39 remaining in the half. With the score 19-16, Benvenuti drained a pair of 3-pointers and a free throw in the final 91 seconds that put Hamilton up 26-18 at the break. Benvenuti scored 10 points in the opening half and Schill matched that for the Camels, who shot just 19.2 percent.

Just over three minutes into the second half, Conn. College closed the gap to 31-26 after a 3-point play by Bo McKinley '16. The Continentals followed with seven unanswered, capped by a Kazickas trifecta that tied Hamilton’s largest lead of the night at 38-26.

The Camels continued to chip away and got within 42-38, but were held scoreless for the next three-plus minutes and Hamilton took advantage. Jack Donnelly '16 hit a shot from beyond the arc and a 3-point play by Hart put the Continentals back up by double digits at 48-38 with 8:09 to go.

An 11-4 Camels run highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers by Vadas and Bryan Gross '15 cut their deficit to 54-50. Vadas nailed another shot from long range to keep it a four-point game at 58-54 with 2:15 left. No one scored again until Gifford knocked down two shots from the charity stripe for a 60-54 advantage with 18 seconds to go. Vadas answered with his fifth 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to make it 60-57.

Hamilton's Hans Schulte '13 missed two free throws with 11 seconds left, which set up a potential game-tying shot for Shill. But his attempt was off the mark, and Gifford came down with the rebound and was fouled with 1.5 seconds left. He missed both free throws and the Camels grabbed the rebound, but their full-court heave wasn't close. The Continentals shot 58.3 percent (21-36) at the free-throw line.

Conn. College (7-14, 0-8) stayed in the game by making 6 of 13 (46.2 percent) shots from 3-point range in the second half. Overall, the Camels shot 32.1 percent (18-56), including 8 of 25 from beyond the arc. The Continentals shot 39.5 percent (17-43) from the floor, including 5 of 17 from long range. Hamilton held a slight 39-37 advantage on the boards.

The Continentals play their last home game on Sunday, Feb. 3, against Wesleyan University. The Camels return to the court for a home game against Colby College on Friday, Feb. 8.

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